Destination I Do
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Fun Puerto Rico Wedding

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of D'Avello Photography

As frequent travelers, Anna and Chris knew a destination wedding was the way to go for them. Not only did they want to share their love of traveling with their guests, they wanted to keep the guest list small. “There were a few requirements for our location, including: whether a passport was necessary, travel time, cost and weather,” says Anna. “Puerto Rico was the solution.”

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The couple had spent a good amount of time in Puerto Rico since Chris’ step-dad has a home there. “We knew that the weather would be pleasant during our stay and that it is incredibly easy to travel within the island for side trips because of its small size,” says the couple. “Additionally, because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, the currency and driving laws and signs are the same as on the mainland."

Chris and Anna opted to host their destination wedding over New Years’ Eve week and as an added bonus, most guests already had that time off of work. “Having an exotic location for New Years’ Eve was an added perk and incredibly enticing for all of those who joined us,” says the bride. In the end, the couple were joined by 30 of their closest friends and family – the perfect amount for this Orange County, California couple.

Perhaps it’s because this couple has traveled to over 45 countries together, but they found planning a destination wedding from thousands of miles away really quite easy! “The Internet, Etsy and wedding blogs made planning a destination wedding effortless,” says Anna. “The only difficulty in planning a destination wedding in Puerto Rico from California was the time difference…but other than that it was incredibly easy to communicate and handle details from afar (even with the language difference!)”

To make traveling to their destination wedding location as stress-free as possible, the couple opted to ship most of their wedding details ahead of time. “The power of the Internet and the U.S. Postal System!” says Anna. “I had everything shipped to the venue (even the flowers) well ahead of time so that when we traveled I wasn’t preoccupied with making sure items arrived there safely. I was especially impressed with our florist who is located in Oregon and successfully shipped all the wedding flowers via U.S.P.S. a week before the wedding. We chose succulents so that the transport was possible.”

In order to maximize their wedding dollar and time with their guests, Anna and Chris rented out a private residence for a week in Rincon, Puerto Rico. “…we were able to host our entire family, including meals and accommodation, for an entire weeklong vacation – for the cost of a larger, one-day wedding in Orange County,” says the couple. “What a treat!”

Overall, these newlyweds know they made the right decision in opting for a destination wedding. While they have lots of wonderful people in their lives at home in Southern California, it was important to them to keep their wedding as small as possible. “We would have had to invite [additional] people because of social obligations that we were able to avoid by having a destination wedding,” says the couple. “[A destination wedding was] a huge savings in overall cost, time and potential hurt feelings!”

These travel savvy newlyweds have some final words of advice for other couples considering a destination wedding: “Go with your heart. Destination weddings are not for everyone, but it can be an amazing time spent with the people who mean the most to you. Additionally, it makes for the most jealous-worthy pictures ever!”

Vendors: Photographer: D’Avello Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: Private residence in Rincon, Puerto Rico, Florist: Gina Pagano-Rose with Bohemian Bouquets, DJ: D.J. Joel from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Gown Designer: Custom-made by Bride’s mother, Jane Hyde, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Calvin Klein.

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